Essena O’Neill pretended to have the perfect life. She posted glamourous selfies after glamorous selfie, and companies sent her beautiful clothing. She quit social media last week, revealing that it was all contrived. Instagram (among other social media platforms) made it possible for her to look flawless.
Instagram is the new place to look perfect. The Guardian asked several twenty something women how they used and felt about Instagram. Their responses showed profound insecurity, superficiality, and pretense.
“I feel anxiety over how many likes I get after I post a picture. If I get two likes, I feel like, what’s wrong with me? Some people judge Instagram by deleting photos that don’t get enough likes. I wouldn’t do that, but I would definitely second-guess my intentions with posting them.”
“I use Instagram just to give people a glimpse into my life. And I like that I can show the parts that I want them to see and make them think I have a cooler life than I do. I like having that kind of control.”
“I do feel insecure if I see girls who look prettier than me, or if they post really pretty pictures, and I know I won’t look as good in any that I post. I do feel pressure to look good in the photos I put up. I don’t feel anxious about not getting enough likes on a photo but if it doesn’t get enough likes, I will take it down.”
Teens and tweens need to understand that what they see on social media is not real. Some people are paid thousands of dollars to model a certain lifestyle on Instagram. Their posts are no more realistic than an advertisement. Others just handpick the right pictures, lighting, filters, etc. to mimic perfection. Both of these kinds of social media posts create a distorted reality in the minds of the social media public. This is the reason social media has been linked to discontent, anxiety, and depression. We are looking for a fictional pot of gold at the end of a holographic rainbow.
To read the Guardian article, click here.